Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Feeling the distance

It is over ten years since I moved to southern Germany. Life has, for the most part, been good. There are many advantages to living in Germany. Of course there are times when I miss Ireland, although it is mainly the people there I miss the most. I think back nostalgically on my memories of growing up in Dublin. However, I am settled here now and Germany feels like my home.

It has always given me great comfort knowing that if I ever want to go back to Ireland for a vist, I could. Flights usually cost anything from around 80€ to 350€ return depending on whether you book last minute or whether it's peak season. Between travelling to the airport, the flight and getting to my family home in Ireland, it takes around eight hours in total.

Flying back to Ireland for every event I am invited to there of course isn't possible (unfortunately!) but over the years I have been able to make it over roughly 3 times a year. Friends and family have also visited me here which has been lovely, and between the various visits back and forth and the help of technology to keep in touch (whatsapp, skype/google hangout, phonecalls), Ireland hasn't felt all that far away.

However, now with the current Coronavirus pandemic, all that has changed. Suddenly Ireland may as well be as far away as Australia, because that's how it feels. I am still in touch with family and many friends but it's frustrating and even heartbreaking at times not knowing when it will be safe to tavel again. Other expat friends I have spoken to here feel the same way. I have been comforting myself with the thought that once there is a vaccine widely available (maybe by next Summer?), we will plan a really long trip to Ireland to try to make up for all the missed moments now.

Totally unrelated to the pandemic, my father has put our family home on the market. He had been talking about it for a several years so I did have lots of time to get used to the idea but there is something really sad about the thought of not being able to stay there when I do eventually make it back to Ireland..


  1. That's a lot of sadness. I'm so sorry that you are so distanced, and you may not get to say goodbye to the family home. This virus has undone the whole world shrinking phenomenon of The World Is Flat -- sure, we have internet but now it's hard to actually see people. My dad is in California and I have no idea when I will see him again, because he can't afford to take the 2-week Quarantine to come here (even though it's safer in NY), neither of us wants to get on a plane, and California is a hot spot. Sending you a big hug. The distance part of this is so, so hard. Even as the other things get a little more "normal," I'm not sure when it will feel safe to travel.

    1. Thanks. I'm thinking it could easily end up being next summer by the time it's safe to travel again.. First we all have to get through the second wave and even if a vaccine is made, it will still takes months to prepare it for distribution. Sigh. I'm sorry you aren't able to see your Dad either. My family home has a lot of memories of my late Mum, which is another reason it will be sad when it's sold.

  2. Yes. We have family in Australia, and right now, it feels as far away as Ireland or Germany! It has both reminded us that we are all the same throughout the world, and yet has made us feel very isolated too. My niece is about to have a baby in Australia, and my sister would love to be able to visit, but can't. When NZ finally opened up, it was so lovely to know that I could travel to see my sisters and nieces within the country. Not that I have yet - but there's a huge difference between feeling you could do something, and knowing you can't.

    My parents built a new house the first time I lived overseas (as a student), so I came home to a new house which never felt like my home. Then ten years later, when I was away for three years, they retired and sold the family farm. It certainly felt weird not being able to visit it, or even say goodbye. Sending hugs.

    1. Yeah exactly, there's a big difference between having the option to do something and knowing you can't. In some ways I feel so far away at the moment, yet like you say, the world also feels small- like we are all in the same boat fighting this together. I've been envious of how well NZ are doing! Jacinda Ardern is very impressive.

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